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Ravnsborg Loses Tea Party Support; Crow Defects, Endorses Stace Nelson

Last updated on 2014.05.26

Republican Senate candidate Jason Ravnsborg has lost a key member of his campaign team. Tea Party organizer Ken Crow announced Sunday that he has left the Ravnsborg campaign and is endorsing GOP challenger Rep. Stace Nelson.

This defection and endorsement appear to revoke the support that Crow's Tea Party Tribune declared for Ravnsborg in March. While Crow was initially impressed with Ravnsborg's answers to an e-mail questionnaire, Crow's six weeks of traveling around South Dakota with Ravnsborg left Crow with an impression of a weak candidate running to run and not to win. Crow cannot figure out why a Ravnsborg interested in winning would not take the very logical step of running a hard-hitting ad on EB-5 against GOP frontrunner Mike Rounds. Crow was also unsettled by Ravnsborg's regular mentions of Dan Lederman and other supporters of GOP frontrunner Mike Rounds. Crow thus gets the impression that Ravnsborg is more interested in hitching his star to those already ascendant in the GOP than ascending by his own merits and promotion of Tea Party conservatism.

Crow says the "minor" issues that originally kept him from endorsing Nelson are far outweighed by Ravnsborg's failure as a candidate:

...Mr. Ravnsborg either isn’t hungry enough for victory or there are hidden agendas that I am unaware of. But his refusal to try and win this campaign is enough reason for me personally to withdraw my support of Jason Ravnsborg for U. S. Senate. Being a national Tea Party figure as I am, I am compelled to only support people that I know are conservative by nature, have a moral compass and are willing to fight for the Constitution.

In light of the afflictions currently facing America, we as a nation are in desperate need of strong and bold leadership to guide our nation at this time in our history. While Stace Nelson might still be a little tougher than we are used to viewing our Senators as, he is exactly what we need in Washington, D. C. We need an outspoken advocate for the citizens of this great nation and the great state of South Dakota. We need someone that is unafraid to stand firm just as he did in Pierre.

I have subsequently learned that Nelson was given several bad raps simply because he dared to stand in the face of “career politicians and the status quo” and of course they did not like that very much. To me, that is true leadership and representation [Ken Crow, press release, 2014.05.25].

When Crow's Tea Party folks lined up behind Ravnsborg, pro-Rounds blog Dakota War College eagerly printed both press releases, without commentary or criticism. Now that experience and face-to-face contact with the candidates have made Crow realize Stace Nelson is the truest Tea Party conservative in South Dakota's Senate race, it will be interesting to see if DWC treats this news with similar gentleness or if DWC will now brand Crow an out-of-state interloper who has no business endorsing candidates in a South Dakota race.


  1. grudznick 2014.05.25

    As a nationally recognized Tea Party Grand Dragon I cast my support and that of my fellows behind Mr. Rhoden. He is not moronic like these others.

  2. Anne Beal 2014.05.26

    Obviously he doesn't know anything about Nelson.

  3. daleb 2014.05.26

    odd turn of events. or... crow got the job done and is jumping ship so that he can save face. Part of the IRS restricting Tea Party non-profits is so that the GOP can infiltrate them, because if there is a bunch of them it makes it a lot harder to infiltrate them all. Ive known Stace personally for 5 years now, he is conservative. I am not so fickle a person that the littlest waver and misunderstanding makes me jump ship.

  4. Jeff Porter 2014.05.26

    Wow , it took this guy 6 weeks to learn this and a week before the primary he is jumping ship ? WTF ? Moderates all over this country have to be loving the stupidity of the more Conservative groups !

  5. Troy 2014.05.26

    You just can't make this stuff up.

    (But, I blame you Cory and Pat. Before blogs, there were a bunch of nuts who just yelled into the wind with nobody listening. Now, they think people are listening. :). )

    Wish you a peaceful and contemplative Memorial Day.

  6. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.26


    I noticed that you were pretty silent on the sidelines this past week as Cory trashed Stace's chances against your boy Mikey, over his 10 to 15 second laughing gaff on "100 Eyes". I imagine you were sitting there snickering like grudz and his Rhoden's Rangers.

    Oh well, I will go up to the VA this morning and listen to what Mr Nelson has to say to the veterans, on this hallowed day. Happy and Peaceful as well as contemplative Memorial Day to you as well.

  7. larry kurtz 2014.05.26

    what a surprise.

  8. William Beal 2014.05.26

    I'm actually surprised that as a candidate for Federal office, Stace is the keynote speaker for an event held on Federal property. I'm not a lawyer, or expert on FEC law and regulations, but if his campaign or other candidates are mentioned during his speech, or if campaign donations are made on Federal property, it's possible that inadvertent violations of campaign law could occur.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.26

    Anne, Crow apparently knows more about Nelson now than he did at the end of March when his group endorsed Ravnsborg on the basis of textual interaction. Crow came to South Dakota, worked for Ravnsborg, met Nelson and the other candidates, and changed his mind. The news here is quite exactly that Crow learned quite a bit about Nelson and developed a more favorable opinion of him.

    Troy, I have no doubt that this story will go unnoticed by a lot of South Dakotans who are busy attending to their memorial services and picnics today. But thank you for noticing that, unlike Pat, I don't make stuff up.

    Dale, could you explain a bit further? What job did Crow get done? And are you saying that you not only believe in the imaginary IRS assault on TP groups, but that you believe the GOP is behind it?

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.26

    Call the video trackers, William! Here's a link to the event, which I got from a Nelson foe Senate press release:

    The press release announcing Nelson's keynote at the VA includes the campaign logo and the sentence "He is currently a member of the South Dakota Legislature and a candidate for US Senate." Nelson is making that statement and waving that logo in an e-mail, not federal property. We'll hear what happens in a couple hours... but I suspect Nelson will be respectful of veterans and law in his language.

  11. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.05.26

    @Anne Beal Please tell us how you know Rep. Nelson so well? Are you his neighbor? I thought his neighbor is that Bender fellow that is in his campaign video. What is it you know about him that you still support Mike Rounds with his EB5 scandal and actual unethical baggage.

    @William Beal So you have no problem with all of Rounds unethical dealings, tens of millions of dollars of missing monies, but you will "what if" Nelson to death? You better go there and keep a close eye on him so you can make sure you can catch him!

  12. Tara Volesky 2014.05.26

    About time Mr. Crow. Better late than never. I hope you run the anti-Rounds commercial and replace Rovnsborg with Stace. Say what you want about Nelson, but he is to the conservative Republicans, what Paul Welstone was to the liberal Democrats. Mr. Roden and Governor Rounds are typical establishment good old boy Republicans that will not fight for SD. Vote for the Marine in the primary. We need a kick butt candidate that is fearless and doesn't back down. He is paid for by the people of SD, unlike Rounds who is paid for by Wall street, big oil and DC special interests.

  13. William Beal 2014.05.26

    DD, I'm simply making an observation that this type of an event could inadvertently create a problem. It's a warning, not a criticism, nor a slam about Stace.

    Personally, I hope there ISN'T an issue with Stace presenting the Keynote speech. We honestly don't need further distractions.

    Why, do you (and other Stace supporters) always assume that any comment you perceive as "anti-Nelson" is "Rounds support?" I've not endorsed, nor will I endorse, any of the primary candidates. As I've said numerous times before, I will support the GOP candidate in the general election, even Stace Nelson. We'll find out who that candidate is, shortly.

  14. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.05.26

    @william You and your wife play up even the most idiotic contrived claims against Stace Nelson, while playing down the mysterious death, a death for crying out loud! Of Mike Rounds' former secretary of GOED, a witness against Mike Rounds in the ongoing federal investigation into corruption in Rounds' administration! No doubt who you two support.

  15. William Beal 2014.05.26

    DD, You appear to come to your own conclusions, regardless of the evidence to support them.

    If I urge Stace to be careful about campaign law, you judge it to be a complaint. If I criticize any campaign (and I've criticized them all), it's an attack on Stace.

    Regardless, you're entitled to your viewpoint, as am I.

    Enjoy the holiday and remember our veterans.

  16. Bobbe Helmerick 2014.05.26

    After the Republican Forum in Custer, Jason was asked why he decided to run. We expected to hear about some burning issue. He answered, "Some legislators asked me, too." Realizing 'he had stepped in it,' he wouldn't name them. It became clear he was encouraged by them to run simply as a spoiler. The more candidates there are only helps Rounds. He thinks Common Core is a "state issue."

  17. 96 Tears 2014.05.26

    Rounds' RINO Heat Shield is still working with just a week left to hold up. Well played Dick Wadhams. The Ravnsborg endorsement was yet another purposeful distraction to keep running down the clock. In his acceptance speech Rounds will announce the primary upheld his reputation as a true conservative and that the EB-5 scandal was shown to be a whole lotta hooey.

    His lackeys in the press corp will nod their heads and agree. That EB-5 thing was never a big deal.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.26

    Which legislators, Bobbe? That is one of this week's biggest questions.

  19. Bree S. 2014.05.26

    Look, William Beal, it's Mike Rounds being interviewed at the 2010 Las Vegas SHOT Show.

    Where have we heard about the 2010 SHOT Show before? Oh, that's right. The federal grand jury subpeona for state documents included travel vouchers Benda double-billed for.

  20. larry kurtz 2014.05.26

    Exactly as planned: dilute the votes of Democrats registering as earth haters and monkey wrenching the senate primary. Only a Democratic US Attorney can stop Rounds now.

  21. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.05.26

    @William Beal I have not seen you post a preemptive public "warning" to Mike Rounds to make sure the duffel bags of cash he is getting from DC/NY lobbyists aren't launder Communist Chinese donations? That would appear to be more of an appropriate "warning" than your reaching effort above.

  22. Bree S. 2014.05.26

    Why would Johnson want to do that Larry? They want to take down Rounds when it's too late, just like Grimm.

  23. larry kurtz 2014.05.26

    Daugaard and Jackley need to go down, too, Bree: I'm just impatient.

  24. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.26

    What would really be neat, larry, is if Rounds went down in the primary, and the Republican convention realized what a jerk Jackley has been over Bendagate and Cory's challenge of Bosworth's petitions, and decided that they better get rid of Jackley before they lose that State office as well.

  25. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.26

    Well folks, you did not need to worry. Mr Nelson gave a great speech at the Memorial Day remembrance at the VA and did himself proud in so doing. I saw Dr Bosworth there, and talked for a second with Rick Weiland, who said that it was a great and heartfelt speech. I thought that it was just me, because he got me emotional, but afterwards found out he had done the same to a lot of other people.

    I talked to two of the three WWII veterans that they introduced. I told them how proud I was of their service, but even prouder of the fact that 70 years later, they could still get into their uniforms, which I could not do and I am much younger than their 91 and 94 years.

    God has truly blessed us to live in a country where so many have given so much for all the rest of us. One thing that Stace mentioned that really threw a light on our country. Their has been one person losing their life every 1 1/2 hours every day since the inception of our country, so that we can enjoy the freedoms that we have. Sometimes, I and probably lose sight of that fact.

  26. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.26

    probably others

  27. Disgusted Dakotan 2014.05.26

    Too bad! I was hoping the SDDPR (South Dakota Dinner Party Republicans) were going to conduct a citizen arrest on Nelson for telling people his name.

  28. Roger Cornelius 2014.05.26

    Over on the Rounds blog there are those in the know that are saying Jason fired Ken Crow. I'm waiting for the evidence.

  29. MJL 2014.05.26

    Retweeted by David Montgomery
    Jason Ravnsborg ‏@JasonRavnsborg 11h
    @RepStaceNelson @FredForman @belfrageshow @ArgusMontgomery @SCF Better check your facts. Ken was never my CM & I fired him a week ago.
    View conversation

  30. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.26

    Ravnsborg fired Crow? Well, this gets more interesting....

  31. Ken Crow 2014.05.27

    For the record; "Be it known", Jason Ravnsborg did not fire me. I am sitting on emails he sent me with 3 options, in which (1) of the options was whereupon he offered to allow me to "SELL" the now infamous "Mike Rounds EB-5" advertisement to Dr. Annette Bosworth in order that she could run it. The fact is, I had angered the candidate when I confronted him about his lack of desire to be victorious in this campaign. I informed him that he had many people working behind the scenes that believed in him and expected him to do his best to win. He apparently did not much care for this. But the fact is this; I had packed the truck and was leaving whether I was fired or not. I refuse to work for someone that is NOT who they say are and doesn't want to win.

  32. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.27

    And that folks, "is the rest of the story".

  33. rick 2014.05.27

    Very interesting. Sadly, the only place you will see any substantive reporting on South Dakota's U.S. Senate race is Madville Times and not in any South Dakota daily newspaper. Ken Crow's admission above provides more evidence of the so-called Rounds heatshield. That would have been a big story in any other state except for the lazy lapdogs in South Dakota.

    I saw the Argus Leader's Sunday wrap-up on Primary Election 2014 and it was just meaningless crap to wrap around advertising. A high school journalism class can produce more meaningful news and they'd get the head count correct on a candidate's children.

  34. Tara Volesky 2014.05.27

    It will be interesting to see if the media interviews Ken. It's sad and obvious that their number one concern is the bottom line. They now control the electorate. There is no difference between the powerful establishment and the media. And Ken, I am happy to know you figured it out.

  35. larry kurtz 2014.05.27

    Maybe KSOO will interview Crow, Rick.

  36. Tara Volesky 2014.05.27

    I talked to an owner of 3 small town newspapers and this person feels the same way about the media......They are in bed with corporate interests and politicians. Cory, you should do a story on our failed media.

  37. mike from iowa 2014.05.27

    Mr Crow-are you saying that a candidate could be a phony with the desire to win and then you would work for them? Just to be clear.

  38. Steve Sibson 2014.05.27

    This is one of the most interesting threads I have read in a long time!

    I agree, you will never find this kind of information on Keloland. They are too busy making way too much money running Rounds and Daugaard ads. This is what the SDGOP Establishment calls economic development.

  39. Tara Volesky 2014.05.27

    Steve, you forgot Avera and Sanford.

  40. Steve Sibson 2014.05.27

    Yes Tara, two more members of the Neo-Fascist circle of public/private partnerships that prosper from the legal corruption. I still have not forgotten my attempt two years ago to challenge the SDGOP platform plank that supports public/private partnership. Joel Arends and Pierre lobbyists who were on the platform committee would big supporters on keeping public/private partnerships. The arrangements are why the SDGOP Establishment candidates have so much money in their campaign war chests.

  41. grainofsalt 2014.05.27

    A comment on Ken Crows comments: I feel the Tea Party has CAUSED much of this countries afflictions, and the fewer tea partiers in Congress, the better. They love gridlock way too much. One could say they have an addiction to it.

    On Nelson at the VA on Memorial Day: By having Stace Nelson as the keynote speaker at the VA just a week before the election, I feel he was given some very valuable positive free press. Is this fair to the other candidates?

    By the way, I'm a registered Republican. I can't stand my party any more. I'm going Independent!

  42. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.27

    Mike, I might cut Crow some slack, just as I would cut Ethan Crisp slack for working for Annette Bosworth for a few weeks before realizing she was a scam artist.

  43. Tim S 2014.05.27

    Any and all statements from Mr. Ken Crow, do not reflect the opinions, decisions, or direction of the Tea Party Community ( TPC ), its administration, sister affiliates, partners or friends. The TPC does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information released by Mr. Crow. The views and opinions expressed in any referenced document by Mr. Crow do not state or reflect those of the TPC.

    The TPC has not endorsed any other South Dakota US Senate campaign. Neither TPC, nor any of their employees, partners or affiliates, assumes any legal liability for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information from Mr. Crow regarding these campaigns.

    Tea Party Community, its administration, members, sister affiliates, and partners endorsed Jason Ravnsborg for US Senate in South Dakota, March 25, 2014, and continues to endorse Mr. Ravnsborg for US Senate in South Dakota.

    -Tim Selaty Sr.

    Tea Party Community & Tea Party Tribune

  44. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.05.27

    Really? And on what basis does the TPC maintain its endorsement of Jason Ravnsborg over Rep. Stace Nelson? Does Mr. Crow's on-the-ground assessment of Ravnsborg's motivations and prospects in any way affect the TPC's confidence in Ravnsborg's commitment to conservative ideals and to keeping the Senate seat out of the hands of crony-capitalist Republican Mike Rounds?

  45. Tim S 2014.05.27

    @caheidelberger - Despite the views/claims of Mr. Crow, we ( TPC ownership & staff ) still firmly believe Jason Ravnsborg is the right person for the job, and best represents our values and convictions. There still remains a great team of TPC volunteers working directly with the Ravnsborg campaign, who can/will vouch that he's authentically "in it to win it", and definitely not a 'plant'.

    We have been active in the business of trying to "keep the Senate seat out of the hands of crony-capitalist Republican Mike Rounds".
    The Madville Times even republished some of the "Mike Rounds: A case for incompetence or criminality" investigative series from our Tea Party Tribune news site.

  46. Tara Volesky 2014.05.27

    Tim, if Jason isn't a plant , than why won't he run your commercial?

  47. Steve Sibson 2014.05.27

    Mr. Salety, in case you are not aware: Mr. Arends and Senator Lederman are not Tea Party material.

  48. Bree S. 2014.05.27

    The only thing Mr. Salety is aware of is who is paying his bills.

  49. Lanny V Stricherz 2014.05.27

    grainofsalt, I hope you haven't changed yet. If you haven't you still get to cast two votes in the US Senate Race.

Comments are closed.